Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror: Getting to Mars

At 10:31 p.m. Pacific Time, NASA that will attempt to land a 2,000-pound Mars rover called Curiosity on the surface of Mars using a complex system of parachutes and rockets. Currently en route to the planet, it is scheduled to land in Gale Crater at about 05:31 UTC on August 6, 2012.

This mission is NASA’s most ambitious Mars project yet. NASA has aptly dubbed, “Seven Minutes of Terror,” as the spacecraft goes from 13,000 mph to a dead stop in the span of 7 minutes. This is an incredibly complicated landing procedure with absolutely no margin for error.

Curiosity is about twice as long and five times as heavy as the Spirit and Opportunity Mars exploration rovers, and carries over ten times the mass of scientific instruments. It will attempt a more accurate landing than previous rovers, It is designed to explore for at least 687 Earth days (1 Martian year) Curiosity rover’s objectives include determining Mars’ habitability, studying its climate and geology, and collecting data for human missions.

After 8 months of flight, spacecraft faces ‘7 minutes of terror’ Truly, this is a terrifying 7 minutes for the folks that spent years planning and developing this mission. I hope everything goes well with the landing of Curiosity and wish the team great success during the mission.



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